When this one popped up a few weeks ago - unfortunately, yes, it has been way too long since I've been able to get out and shoot - I immediately thought of shooting pier pilings. Piers are one of my favourite photographic subjects. This evening promised a sunset - absent for the past week - and there were interesting clouds in the sky so I headed for one of Melbourne's iconic ba\yside photographic locations.
Princes Pier, Port Melbourne
Princes Pier was built as the partner to what is now Station Pier (formerly Railway Pier) and between them they acted as the main passenger arrival and departure points to and from the city of Melbourne. The superstructure of the pier was destroyed by a series of fires in the 1990s and 2000s but the first 190+ metres were restored and the remainder had the decking removed leaving approximately 300 metres of pilings reaching out into Port Phillip Bay adjacent to the mouth of the Yarra River.
This is the typical iconic shot of the pier pilings, lining up the channel with the navigation markers. I also took a vertical but zoomed in a little to crop out the tops of the foreground pilings that were a distraction.
I had two shots in mind when I arrived but while waiting for the sun to set, I found another 'repetition' image with the pilings forming the foreground to a shot of the container cranes.
...but back to the two previsualised shots...
First, I wanted a black and white shot of the pilings and the sky also lent itself to a black and white treatment. The problem was trying to find a lens to fill the width with pilings but capture sufficient sky. 24mm was about right for the foreground but didn't include enough sky so I shot two images - one of the foreground and one emphasising the sky and stitched them together as a square, vertical panorama. To emphasise the depth in the image, I exaggerated the fish-eye effect creating curvature of the horizon by using the boundary warp tool in Lightroom's panorama stitching tool.
For the second shot I had planned an image cropped in to just include the pilings with no sky and no surrounding water. I was so close to the foreground pilings that even f/16 did not give me sufficient depth of field to get everything from the first piling to the horizon sharp so I focus-stacked by taking three frames, focussing on the foreground, mid ground and background respectively and merged them in Photoshop.
Check out my YouTube video of this shoot.
Please feel free to comment below. Constructive criticism and informed discussion are always welcome.
♠ J Telephoto